Explosion in Tianjin, ChinaA storage facility in Tianjin, China exploded shortly after 1500 UTC on 12 August 2015 (media story). Himawari-8, MTSAT-2 and COMS-1 all viewed the explosion that generated a strong thermal signature in the shortwave infrared band (3.75 µm – 3.9 µm). The animation above shows the benefit of Himawari-8’s speedier scanning mode: the smoke clouds that emanate from the explosion are easily traced, and data gaps when Full Disk images are being scanned (around 1800 UTC) are not present. Superior spatial resolution of Himawari-8 infrared channels (2-km, compared to 4-km for COMS-1 and MTSAT-2) means hotter brightness temperatures are sensed as well. The fact that smoke resulting from the explosion was seen spreading northeastward, southeastward, and southwestward was due to a marked shift in wind direction with height, as seen in the nearby Beijing rawinsonde report.
The explosion exhibted a signal in other Himawari-8 AHI bands as well. Band 5, at 1.6 µm and Band 6, at 2.3 µm are shown below (animations courtesy of William Straka, CIMSS); Similar animations are available for 3.9 µm, 6.2 µm (very faintly visible in this upper tropospheric water vapor channel), 7.0 µm, 7.3 µm and 8.6 µm and 10.35 µm.A view of Himawari-8 shortwave IR imagery using the SSEC RealEarth web map server is shown below. In addition, an animation of Himawari-8 true-color images showing the dark smoke plume can be seen here.
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